Diablo III is a game that many players may have forgotten about over the past four years as the title has gone through a number of massive changes. However, it’s a game that shouldn’t be lost to time as the amount of replayability and refinement within the mechanics have molded it to near perfection. It’s a title that has withstood the test of time and needs to be recognized for how far it has come.
Now as we approach Blizzcon 2016 and the possibility of more content, it’s time to look back and reflect on the one game that fought its way to the very top after even after suffering some nearly fatal wounds.
In order to understand why Diablo III is still one of the best dungeon crawlers ever made, we need to look back at its initial release in 2012. Announced at Blizzcon 2008, Diablo III was a game that was wildly anticipated by fans and critics alike. Upon its release, the critical reviews for the game were largely positive with outlets like Polygon, Giant Bomb, and Joystiq giving the RPG perfect scores. Averaging out a solid 88% from the gaming press, it seemed like Blizzard had another success on their hands.
Fans flocked to the game making it the most pre-ordered PC game on Amazon which caused it to sell over 3.5 million copies on the first day. However, it soon became apparent to players that Diablo III had some serious problems beginning to crop up as it suffered a horrendous launch day that saw players unable to connect to servers or login. Now this is obviously due to the high rate of players buying the game, yet once people actually got access, another issue begin to slowly form: the Auction House.
For those who have never played Diablo III during its early years, there was a system dubbed the “Auction House” that would allow players to buy and sell goods for both in-game and real world money. This caused a number of issues thanks to Diablo III’s stingy drop rate for rare or legendary gear. It got so out of hand that a player allegedly made over $10,000 just from selling in-game items. Diablo III’s Auction House made the game less about exploring dungeons for rare gear and more about just waiting for the best deals to be available on the Auction House.
Due to all of these problems the user’s for this title were incredibly harsh, earning it a solid 4.0 from the community. Now with around 65% of the player base gone Blizzard bet all of their chips on the upcoming expansion’s ability to save this game.
Announced at Gamescom 2014, this new expansion was called “Reaper of Souls,” which not only introduced a new story, but set to fix all of the problems plaguing the vanilla game. Reaper of Souls was hailed by critics and embraced by the fan base due to the major changes it made to almost every aspect of the mechanics. The Auction House was swiftly shut down, and with it, a new progression system called “Loot 2.0” was introduced to help curtail the terrible drop rate for gear. Players instantly noticed the improved amount of loot, which helped increase the replayability of Diablo III thanks to players always having a constant increase in their power.
All of this culminated into the “Nephalem Rift” system which were procedurally generated dungeons full of different enemies, traps, and bosses. This allowed for nearly infinite replayability for players as they could constantly up the difficulty, obtain higher end loot, and continue to climb up the leaderboards. Blizzard also included a number of bonus areas such as Treasure Rift which is full of gold and the infamous cow level where players must slay hordes of murderous bovine.
These implementations, along with the inclusion of the new Crusader class and specific armor sets, have added a lot more customization to players’ characters. By doing this Blizzard drastically increased the longevity of their game, allowing teams of players to mix and match their sets of armor to form interesting and dynamic synergies. Though Blizzard’s best idea was still a few months out and would help set Diablo III as one of the best dungeon crawlers ever made.